Every window shattered, spewing glass at Shannon, Viktor and I. Masked figures jumped through each shattered window.
I jumped in front of Shannon, shielding her from the spray of glass that flung in our direction.
Viktor jumped in front of Shannon and I, taking most of the glass to himself.
Everything in the ballroom was happening much too fast.
People screamed in every direction. Some ran, while others dropped to the ground.
In the midst of the chaos, I could make out some of the masked men holding guns. My eyes widened as explosion of bullets flying through the air pierced my ears. Everything was happening so fast, I hardly noticed my necklace hot against my skin.
"Stay close to Viktor!" I shouted at Shannon, pulling her closer to him be her trembling arm.
"Arabella!" I could hear my Dad's voice yelling my name.
"Bella.. I think you should stay with Viktor." Aela sounded just as frantic as I.
"Screw that. I'm not leaving Dad." I snapped at Aela.
While my decision might not have been the smartest, I couldn't stand to lose the only parent I had left.
I was having a hard enough time figuring this Royal thing out, and I'd be completely lost if anything happened to Dad.
A shower of bullets rained on the frantic crowd and a strangled scream left my lips.
Many people dropped to the ground, but I couldn't tell if any were hit.
In the midst of all the chaos, I had been standing there gaping along side Shannon.
I locked eyes with one of the masked men and felt my blood turn cold. The necklace felt searing hot against my chest, but I was rooted in place.
Viktor stood in front of Shannon and I, but I peaked around him and into the eyes of one of the masked men.
His eyes looked dead, glinting with a cruel and impersonal light.
The masked man didn't speak, but he locked eyes with some of his companions and made a hand motion that set my teeth on edge.
The masked man pointed at his companions, then pointed directly at my horrified face.
A deep snarl ripped through Viktor as the masked men rushed forward.
Viktor was like a freight train. A single bullet whizzed past his head, and I yanked Shannon to the ground.
While Viktor charged at the masked men and caught one by the throat, I pulled Shannon to her feet and darted through the mess of frantic people to one of the service tables.
"Stay down." I snapped, pushing Shannon to the floor against one of the tables.
Shannon looked completely mortified, but her honey eyes darted around taking in the mess before us.
"Don't you dare, Arabella." Shannon dug her nails into my wrist, her golden eyes burning holes into my own.
I shook my head, "You'll be safe here. Stay out of sight."
"And you'll stay with me." She snapped.
I shook my head, using my strength to pull her fingers from my wrist. "I can't leave Dad, Shannon."
I lifted myself from the floor and took off through the mess of people, glancing over at Viktor to see him tearing the throat out of one of the men.
"Their after you not him!" I could hear bits of Shannon's voice among the frantic people running about.
I barreled through the crowd, struggling to stay on my feet when a mop of fire kissed hair glistened against the white floor.
I could vaguely make out August Halifax. He must've been pushed to the floor. A look of panic was etched onto his porcelain face, his hazel eyes were widened as they scanned everything.
I wasted no time shoving people aside, and wrapping my hand around his arm. Fear followed by relief crossed his eyes when I pulled him to his feet.
"Do you know anything about this?" I screamed over the noise, wrapping my hands tight around his arms.
The heat coming from my necklace was almost painful, and I could feel my green eyes turn gold as Aela threatened to come forward.
"I don't know anything", August yelled back, "I swear I don't."
I didn't have time to debate on whether he was telling me the truth or not. I wrapped my hand around his wrist and pulled him through the crowd.
"Where are we going?" August yelled, managing to keep up behind me.
"I need to find my Dad!" I yelled back.
My heart was a frantic thumping in my chest when i spotted a familiar head of curly hair.
Uncle Jaspar stood out in the crowd, directing people to a set of open doors.
"Jaspar!" I yelled, almost barreling into him with August in tow.
Uncle Jaspar's eyes nearly popped out of his head at the sight of me.
"Arabella! We couldn't find you." Uncle Jaspar's face was flushed as he ushered people out the door.
"Why aren't more people leaving?" I yelled over the screaming.
I kept my eyes away from the deep crimson spots that soaked parts of the porcelain floor.
Uncle Jaspar clenched his teeth and yelled over the noise, "Someone locked the doors from the outside."
While I wanted to ask more, I simply didn't have the time.
"We need to go back to Viktor!" Aela yelled in my mind.
I shook my head, "We need to find Dad. Viktor's strong, he'll survive while we find Dad."
Even as I thought those words, I felt sick to my stomach. I was being torn between two people who held a piece of my heart. My Dad, the only parent I had left. My silent bodyguard, the man I had some strange connection to that I just couldn't seem to shake.
"Arabella you need to leave!" Uncle Jaspar shouted, reaching out to grab my wrist.
"No!" I yanked my arm away from him.
While Aela wanted me to go back to Viktor, we were both in silent agreement that there was no way we were leaving.
I could only hope Caroline had somehow managed to escape, and that it wasn't her blood that splattered the floor.
I glared at Uncle Jaspar stubbornly, "We don't have time for this!"
Uncle Jaspar shook his head, as if remembering the chaos around us. "Follow me. I saw him just a minute ago."
I tumbled through the crowd after Uncle Jaspar. I was shocked when I looked back and saw August following the two of us.
I was still confused about his family and extremely cautious, but August didn't seem like a terrible person. I couldn't imagine what he must go through, being the heir to a Kingdom while your own family plots against you.
Uncle Jaspar led us through the ballroom and finally stopped when the crowd became thinner.
His head whipped around frantically, and a horrible sinking feeling wedged itself in my stomach.
"He was right-" Uncle Jaspar's mouth opened to speak, but someone appeared behind him.
One of the masked men came up behind him and knocked Uncle Jaspar to the ground. His head hit the porcelain floor with a sickening 'thud'.
All the months I had spent training never prepared me for this moment.
The masked man raised his gun and pointed it directly at my face.
While everything else was happening in hyper speed, this moment was excruciatingly slow.
I had time to wonder how Viktor was such a skilled fighter. I could feel my muscles tense and my body freeze as I looked down the barrel of the man's gun. An entire Kingdom rested on my shoulders, and all of that was about to be taken away.
A flash of orange rushed in front of me, snapping me out of my horrified stupor.
August had thrown himself at the masked man, his claws extended as he knocked the gun away.
It was clear that August wasn't a skilled fighter. The large, masked man tossed August to the side and scrambled for his gun.
"Snap out of it!" Aela growled in my head.
The combined burning of my necklace and Aela's strength coursing through me, snapped me from my daze.
I felt my feet take me forward, pushing strength into my core as I lunged at the masked man.
He was a mere inches away from his gun when I landed on his torso.
My claws extended from my hands and I dug them into his chest as far as I could.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was absolutely freaking out. I had never thought I would actually kill someone. My training was simply a precaution, but I never actually anticipated using it.
The masked man grunted and thrashed under me, knocking my teeth together painfully. I could feel a set of claws rake at my dress, but I was unable to feel the pain. A wet and sticky sensation emerged on the side of my torso, but my attention was on the man beneath me.
"What would a Lycan be using a gun for?" Aela's question sounded dim in my mind, as I focused on ending a mans life.
My arms burned as I forced my claws deeper in the mans chest, only daring to retract them once his thrashing ceased and his chest stilled.
While I wanted to fall to the ground sobbing, something kept me going.
The side of my gown was torn to shreds, and blood splattered the deep emerald fabric but somehow I pulled myself from the ground.
I stretched my arm out for August and pulled him to his feet.
"You saved my life." I noted, looking into his strange hazel eyes.
Something changed within me, and I found myself desperately wanting to trust August. The only other Royal I knew I could trust was Erik. I needed someone else on my side.
"You owe me a debt." August nodded breathlessly.
His words made me feel uncomfortable, but for the time being I needed to trust him.
"If we live, we can talk about that later." I exhaled, my eyes scanning the destroyed ballroom.
August replied with a brief nod.
"We can't just stay out in the open." August nudged me, his own eyes.
People were still running around frantic, unable to leave the ballroom. That only made it harder to spot the masked men through the hoard of people.
"We can't keep looking. We need to find Viktor and you know it, Bella." Aela pleaded with me.
Everything inside of me wanted to deny her words, but I knew she was right. I just had to pray that Dad had somehow made it out. Viktor was who I needed in order to keep myself alive.
"My bodyguard, we need to go to him." I snapped at August, wasting no time as I plunged into the crowd.
It took only a few minutes to find Viktor, and what I saw made my blood run cold.
Viktor was on his knee's, staring down the barrel of a gun.
At least ten masked men stood around him, much more than I had previously saw. More must have come through the windows.
The masked man with the gun aimed at Viktor said something to him, something that made Viktor's eyes burn with fury.
Viktor's mask lay discarded on the floor. If his life wasn't moments away from being snuffed out, I might've taken a closer look.
Shannon sat off to the side, tucked tightly against the server's table. She hadn't been spotted by anyone, sending a hint of relief rushing through me. Her golden eyes were frantic as she found my face.
"Viktor!" His name ripped from my mouth.
Even I was stunned at how I sounded. I felt frantic, numb with absolute fear but my voice came out strong. My voice was lased with authority and power.
Viktor's eyes snapped over to meet my own, and my breath caught in my throat.
If I had thought Nikolai had ethereal and effortless beauty, it was nothing compared to Viktor. For someone capable of such monstrosities, Viktor looked like a God.
His jawline was chiseled to perfection and a hint of chocolate stubble ran the length of his chin and cheeks. His lips were as full as I had imagined, but stained with blood. His hair was still tousled to perfection, even after his fight with the masked men.
The masked man cocked the gun he had pointed at Viktor, and I felt something new tear through me.
The necklace was much too hot on my skin now. I could practically smell my flesh burning beneath it. It felt like a dam bursting within me, pouring out raw power and fury.
"No!" The word left my lips in a howl of agony and fury, the dam within me exploding from my body.
I could feel my arms fly out at my sides as raw power rushed through me. The feeling reminded me of a giant bull. Absolutely lethal, but neither good nor bad.
All I could think about was saving Viktor.
My arms were still stretched out, and my head thrown back when I heard ten heavy thuds echo across the floor.